ABSTRACT Purpose: The usefulness of dissolving microneedles (DMs) for local skin therapy by basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) was studied in rats. Methods: We prepared four kinds of bFGF-loaded DMs, approximately 500 μm length and 300 μm diameter at the bottom. Long-term stability and dissolution studies were performed by HPLC method. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacological evaluations were performed after administration of bFGF loaded DMs to rats. Results: The bFGF contents were 2.15±0.07, 1.07±0.04, 0.56±0.07 and 0.12±0.03 μg. The 100.2±3.4%, 100.2±3.3%, 99.3±1.4% and 100.4±3.0% of bFGF were recovered after 1, 3 and 6 months and 1 year incubation at 40°C. The bFGF was released from DMs within 5 min. In a pharmacokinetic study using 2.0 and 1.0 μg bFGF-loaded DMs, no systemic exposure of bFGF was detected. The initial bFGF concentrations in the rat skin tissue after administration of bFGF-loaded DMs to the hair-removed rat abdominal skin were 510.2±20.1 ng/g wet weight for 2 μg bFGF DMs and 264.2±56.5 ng/g wet weight for 1 μg DMs, declining slowly thereafter to 226.3±33.5 and 105.1±27.4 ng/g wet weight at 6 hr after administration. Good dose-dependency was observed. Pharmacological evaluation of bFGF-loaded DMs of 2.0, 1.0, 0.5, and 0.1 μg, in the wound healing rat model, all used DMs, but 0.1 μg DMs, showed good healing effects. Considered collectively, these results suggest the usefulness of bFGF-loaded DMs for local therapy of skin wound disease.
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